The decision to have the fellas stranded at the North Pole doing a science experiment was an unusual way to end the second season, but we find out that the three-month stay served as a pressure cooker for the guys who grew tired of Sheldon's (Jim Parsons) dictator-like behavior and ruined his experiment.
Being away for three months also had Leonard (Johnny Galecki) longing for his neighbor Penny (Kaley Cuoco). It turns out to be mutual when the gang returns home. Leonard and Penny want to spend as much time together as possible, but the actions of Leonard, Raj (Kunal Nayyar), and Howard (Simon Helberg) while at the North Pole keep Leonard and Penny apart as they have to chase a humiliated Sheldon back home to the Lone Star State where Sheldon grew up.
This journey back home to Texas means another visit from the talented Laurie Metcalf, who reprises her role as Sheldon's mother, Mary. Mary is an absolute riot, poking fun at everyone, including her son. Much like her previous appearances on the series, Mary doesn't pull any punches, sometimes saying things that many would be offended by. Poor Raj can't even defend himself because he can't talk to women.
Metcalf and the other actors have a relatively easy job in the premiere because the joke writing is so well done. The punchlines are as good as ever, but there are some moments between Penny and Leonard where the writing loses its edge and the dialogue becomes predictable. Still, it's a solid episode that should leave some of you in stitches.